Lone Star State braces for more hot, dry weather
Graphic courtesy of the NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE’S CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER, The National Weather Service is predicting continuing drought for the western half of Texas this summer, with some improvement for the rest of the state by the end of August.
COLLEGE STATION -- Though recent storms promised to reset the drought button for a large part of East Texas, the western half of the state will likely see below-normal precipitation from now through August, according to a Texas A&M University climatologist.
“We are looking for above-normal rainfall, and we’re not having an easy time finding it,” said Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas State Climatologist, College Station.
Temperatures were expected to be above normal for all of the southern plains this summer, Nielsen-Gammon said.
“The short-range and long-range outlooks are sort of opposites,” he said. “We’ve got decent chances of rain in West Texas over the next week or two, while the Gulf Coast is going to stay fairly dry. But over the summer, the outlook from the Climate Prediction Center has the best chances for rain being along the Gulf Coast with drier conditions in West Texas.”
Nielsen-Gammon noted a few months ago no one was predicting the widespread swings in temperature and late freezes. However, he believes Texas has seen the last of abnormally low temperatures, and that warmer weather is back on track.
The reason for the cold fronts was likely due to above-normal snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere, he said.
“It was the first time in more than a decade that the springtime snow cover has been above normal,” Nielsen-Gammon said. “That means cold air can stay cold a lot longer on its way down to Texas.”
So far, the entire state has had below-normal rainfall for May. Parts of West Texas may “luck out” the last of May because of “fairly active, dry-like convections” during the rest of the month, he said.
As for June, the coastal regions of Texas may be drier, he said.
“It’s because the Gulf of Mexico is so cool right now, but that’s just a hunch at this point,” he said.
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service district reporters compiled the following summaries for the week of May 13-19:
AgriLife Extension district reporters for the Southwest District, including Wilson, Gonzales, Guadalupe, and Bexar counties, stated there were reports of from a trace to as much as 2 inches of rain, along with some corn and wheat destroyed by hail. There were no reports of livestock or wildlife being injured by the hailstorms. Temperatures rose into the 90s. Thrips were an issue in some cotton fields.
AgriLife Extension district reporters for the Coastal Bend District, including Karnes County, reported limited rainfall in some areas and improved crop and pasture conditions, but warmer and very windy conditions were quickly diminishing soil moisture.
Robert Burns has nearly 30 years’ experience writing about agriculture and agricultural-related research. He writes about Texas AgriLife Research and Texas AgriLife Extension Service activities at the Overton Center and centers in Stephenville and Temple.